Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

18 June 2000

Table of Contents

Action Step For Canadians
The Ecological Impacts of Transgenic Crops on Agroecosystem
Canola Oil Alergy
Newsletter 'Market Intelligence' from Genetic ID
GM Seed Firm Agrees to Compensate Farmers
GM Crop Compensation Set To Cost Company Millions
Modified Organisms May Spell Danger For Africans
Canadians outraged over GM company's methods
Research by Iowa State University confirming monarch butterflies damaged by GE pollen from Bt corn. See:
Scientists expose "junk science" behind genetically modified corn approvals
Review on Non-Target Organisms and Transgenic Bt Plants
French Farmers Confident on GM Seed Compensation
Revolving Door placement: Monsanto man is now US Consumber Advocate
Subsidy Boost for GM Contaminated Crop Farmers
Widespread alert on seeds contaminated with GM
Monsanto used private investigators to check on farmer
Comments From Dr. Mae-wan Ho, Regarding Her Concerns About Genetic Engineering
GM crops don't deliver
Japanese Snack Company Switches Sweeteners
Greenpeace Launches New Web Site!
Transgenic Oilseed Rape [canola] line unexpectedly increases growth of crop pest
Monsanto Used Private Eye, Spies to Check on Saskatchewan Farmers
Excellent New Briefing on the Risks of GM Foods
Scientists abandon 'inefficient' cloning
New Zealand Moratorium On Genetic Modification

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Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 11:59:49 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-31

Action Step For Canadians

Dear friends

We need to pressure Canadian food manufacters, retailers, and associations to label foods genetically engineered vs. certified "non-GMO" food so that consumers have a choice. One excuse the grocery chains give for not allowing non-GMO growers and manufacturers to label non-GMO is that they say there are no set standards for labelling.

However, standards have been adopted in many other countries. The international market is settling on a maximum allowable threshold of 0.1% inadvertant GMO content for "non-GMO" labelling, and the contents must be traceable to non-GMO sources. (Foods have to have less than 0.1% genetically engineered ingredients to be labelled "non-GMO").

This 0.1% threshold is the lowest that is feasible, taking into account the limitations of scientific sampling & testing. However 0.1% is tight enough that it forces industry to aim for 0%. Also, this standard is consistent with the proposals of many Canadian consumer groups to require mandatory labels on products that contain more than 0.1% GMO as "containing GMO"

As this threshold is already working in other countries, there is no excuse not to immediately introduce it in North America.

Here is the: ACTION STEP FOR CANADIANS

Canadians are encouraged to email the list below of Canadian food retailers, manufacturers, and associations asking them to adopt the labelling standards for labelling "containing GMO" and "non-GMO" food that is being implemented world wide.

You can email the following list of food retailers, manufacturers, government, and associations encouraging to adopt these labelling standards:

jftscott@cfig.ca;
gwlghw@weston.ca;
jcruikshank@ccgd.ca;
john.kiezer@sobeys.ca;
karen.darnell@Safeway.com;
piwekb@Aptea.com;
metrorichelieu@metro.ca;
claueri@co-opsonline.com;
b.gustafson@fcl.ca;
mmcbride@calgarycoop.com;
lamurphy@modusvivendi.net;
martine.coutu@couche-tard.qc.ca;
Mkenny@em.agr.ca

Here is a letter that you can copy and use if convenient:

Dear Sir or Madam,

We strongly urge you to adopt internationally consistent guidelines for labelling genetically engineered, "GMO" and "non-GMO" foods, based on a maximum allowable threshold of 0.1% to be labelled "non-GMO".

We support these labelling standards as a minumum because:

Canadian consumers and industry require consistent standards, so that a GMO or non-GMO label is meaningful.

The standards, which are supported by consumer and environmental groups around the world, appropriately exclude the use of any and all GMOs as ingredients, processing agents and agricultural inputs.

The 0.1% rejection threshold for GMO content per ingredient is the lowest practically achievable level. (This is explained at the website.)

These standards require documented traceability of each ingredient in products labeled as non-GMO, thus facilitating enforcement.

The standards are in use worldwide. By adopting them in Canada, our manufacturers can produce to a single standard for domestic and international use, and can use non-GMO products to restore our lost export markets and avoid further losses as other countries' legislation goes into effect over the next year.

We ask that you adopt these internationally consistent standards or equivalent for GMO and non-GMO labeling, and make public your position right away, so that Canada can move forward on this issue and maintain its markets.

If you wish to see an example of internationally consistent standards, based on the 0.1% threshold, that are already in use worldwide, see the website: "http://www.genetic-id.com/canadianproposal.htm" At this website, CERT ID, an internationally recognized non-GMO certifier, has posted these standards as a service to industry in the form of a proposal. However these standards do not require the participation of Genetic ID or any other specific company.

Sincerely

name address in Canada


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 11:59:49 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-31

Here is an abstract:

The Ecological Impacts of Transgenic Crops on Agroecosystem

By Miguel A. Altieri, Ecosystem Health 6 (1) 13-23,2000 Blackwell Science Inc.

Transgenic crops are being deployed at increasing rates in agricultural landscapes worldwide. This leads to increasing genetic uniformity of agroecosystems and enhances farmers dependence on biotechnological innovations subject to proprietary regimes controlled by multinational corporations.

As developed transgenic crops respond to market niches and opportunities, there has been little consideration of the ecological implications of their deployment.

Existing ecological theory and emerging research data suggest that the massive planting of transgenic monocultures can create critical environmental impacts ranging from gene flow between transgenic crops and wild relatives, the creation of super-weeds and the rapid development of insect resistance, to impacts on soil fauna and nontarget organisms. The consequences of such effects on agroecosystem health are analyzed are herein.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


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Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

Canola Oil Alergy

Letters, Globe & Mail, May 22, 2000

I was amused to read that there are people in Canada who are calling the European reaction to the genetically modified canola seeds scandal "hysterical" (Canola Operation Could Leave Canada over Europe's Uproar - May 19). My son has a severe allergy to canola oil that has developed only after we moved to Canada in 1996. Before then any canola oil he consumed came form non-GM canola seeds.

Are you aware that almost all restaurants and commercially prepared foods use canola oil in Canada? His reaction is so severe that in minutes his throat starts to swell up. Why are we allowing such potentially dangerous plants in Canada? Have we no concern as a nation for our generations to come? Would Canola Council president Dale Adolphe feel differently if his son was so severely affected? Ghazala Faruqui, Mississauga, Ont.


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Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

Genetically Modified Foods

Newsletter 'Market Intelligence' from Genetic ID

Published by Genetic ID, Inc., No. 44 May 31, 2000

Contents:

  1. U.S. Announces New GMO Policies. The Clinton administration wants to step up the government's oversight of genetically modified (GM) foods. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/frontpagenewsl44.htm

  2. Seed Mix-up Unsettles Europe. GM seeds were accidentally mixed with a shipment of conventional seeds and sown on thousands of hectares in Europe. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page2newsl44.htm

  3. Labeling News. From United Nations, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page3newsl44e.htm

  4. Australia Wants Tougher Laws: A strict new set of laws to govern GMOs is in the cards for Australia, according to a report from Farmers Weekly Interactive. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page4newsl44e.htm

  5. Brazil Denies GM Soybean Reports: Agriculture officials in Brazil have denied recent reports that 30 percent of the country's billion-dollar soybean crop is genetically modified. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page5newsl44e.htm

  6. British Farmers Plant Lupins to Avoid GMOs: A number of farmers in Britain are replacing traditional crops with lupins in an effort to keep GMOs out of the food chain, reports the Times (London). http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page5newsl44e.htm

  7. British Bees Making GM Honey: Bee farmers in Britain want a meeting with the government after their honey was found to contain 'GM components '  specifically GMOs for weed killer tolerance, said the Independent (London) report. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page6newsl44e.htm

  8. British Activists to Face a Second Trial: The director of Greenpeace in Britain, Lord Melchett, along with 27 of his colleagues, will face a retrial on charges of criminal damage of GM crops. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page6newsl44e.htm British Activists to Face a Second Trial: The director of Greenpeace in Britain, Lord Melchett, along with 27 of his colleagues, will face a retrial on charges of criminal damage of GM crops.

  9. Britain's Prince Charles on the Precautionary Principle: In a recent talk on BBC Radio, Prince Charles endorsed the 'precautionary approach ' to scientific advances. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page7newsl44e.htm

  10. Canada Shelves GM Wheat: The Canadian government has abandoned plans to genetically modify durum wheat, reports the Toronto Star. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page7newsl44e.htm

  11. Indonesia Sets Up Guidelines: The government in Indonesia recently issued guidelines on the biosafety of crops in an effort to comply with the Cartagena Protocol, a global treaty on the use of GMOs. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page8newsl44e.htm

  12. Italy Protests for Precaution: The Italian government has been moving strongly behind the precautionary principle in recent weeks. As a result, agriculture minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio revoked his ministry's sponsorship of the international conference on plant biotechnology. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page8newsl44e.htm

  13. Japan Sees 'Explosive ' First Day Trading of non-GMOs: The world's first non-GMO soybean futures began trading on the Tokyo Grain Exchange on May 18. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page9newsl44e.htm

  14. Japan to Require Safety Standards on Imports: The Japanese health ministry will soon require suppliers to provide proof that the GMOs they ship to Japan meet ministry safety standards. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page9newsl44e.htm

  15. Kenyan Scientists Debate: Pro-GMO scientists in Kenya have formed the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum to counteract an increasing anti-GMO sentiment in the developing world. The Africa News Service said debate is heating up on the continent. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page10newsl44e.htm

  16. New Zealand Gets Tough on GMO Law: The Environmental Risk Authority of New Zealand (ERMA) has cited seven institutions for breaching laws by failing to get the proper approvals for GMO experiments, reports the Evening Post (Wellington). http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page11newsl44e.htm

  17. Philippine Peasants Decry Dumping of GMOs: Industry researchers intend to carry out more field tests on GM corn in the Philippines, reports Businessworld. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page11newsl44e.htm

  18. Spanish Food Processors Considers Cost of GM Corn: Europe's only commercial GM corn is being grown in Spain, but the country's corn starch processors have told their government the crop, which contains the Bt gene, is costing them money. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page12newsl44e.htm

  19. Thailand Considers Safety Policy for GMOs: Scientists and officials in Thailand want the government to quickly develop nationwide safety policies to deal with the introduction of GMOs into the country. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page12newsl44e.htm

  20. U.S. State Governors Band to Support GMOs: State governors concerned that consumer resistance to GM foods could hurt farmers and biotech companies in their states plan to use their political muscle to promote the industry. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page13newsl44e.htm

  21. U.S. Senate Committee Approves Research Money: A Senate spending committee has approved $30 million in new funding for biotech research projects targeted at malnutrition and hunger in developing countries, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page13newsl44e.htm

  22. Of Note: GM Salmon Pose Slippery Questions. There is debate over which U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies can most effectively monitor GM salmon. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page14newsl44e.htm

  23. Food News, Business Notes and Science Notes http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page15newsl44e.htm

  24. Voices in the Debate. http://www.genetic-id.com/newsletter/newsl44/page16newsl44e.htm

Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

GM Seed Firm Agrees to Compensate Farmers

By PA news reporters
http://194.200.85.10/sources/154/621/4009425/000606n.htm

Farmers who planted crops contaminated with genetically modified material were today advised by supplier Advanta to destroy them.

The Lincolnshire-based company, which imported oilseed rape seeds from Canada unaware that they contained around 1% GM material, has agreed to compensate farmers for their loss.


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Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

Thanks to Paul & Katrin Davis devatalk@mcmail.com for posting the following:

GM Crop Compensation Set To Cost Company Millions

From the Press Association Friday June 2, 2000

Farmers have given a cautious welcome to an offer from seed company Advanta to compensate them for losses caused by contamination of their crops with genetically-modified material.

Following lengthy discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) and farmers' unions, Advanta advised farmers who had sown the impure oilseed rape to destroy the crop and promised to provide "fair and equitable" compensation.

Advanta would give no guidance on the cost of the payout, but it is expected to run into millions of pounds.


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Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

Modified Organisms May Spell Danger For Africans

By Frederick Nzwili, COMTEX Newswire

Nairobi (All Africa News Agency, May 31, 2000) - The greatest achievement of the Fifth meeting of Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, during May 15-26 was the signing of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. While cheers welcomed every signature that went down on the book, there are wide fears that the authorisation of trade on Living Modified Organisms LMOs may spell danger for African people. More particularly in the speed by which it is being applied.

A genetically engineered brand of a dietary supplement in 1989 killed 37 Americans and permanently disabled more than 5,000 others with fatal and painful blood disorder.

The manufacturer, Showa Denko, the Japanese largest company had for the first time used Genetically Engineered GE bacteria to produce the food supplement. The company has since then paid out over US $2 billion in damages to victims. However, their lives continue to be miserable despite the settlement. Twenty one years later, that technology has developed so much that experts fear it may overtake other endeavours such as in the electronic industry. Even worse is that there are fears that humanity may become involuntary guinea pigs in the vast genetic experiment in food and agriculture industry.

Already experts in the continent have expressed fears that some of the foods selling in the supermarkets may contain traces of Living Modified Organisms LMOs. This has been so as genetic engineering is a relatively new phenomena that is growing extremely fast, particularly in Africa. African people are caught up in a dilemma whether to adopt the new technology, despite having very little capacities, or say no to Living Modified Organisms. While some may have government research institutions that have capacities to run GMO projects, the majority of the governments do not have the finance to purchase some of the raw material needed for the research.

At the Conference a warning was given: Allowing trade on LMOs could spell the worst danger in human history.


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Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:17:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-5

Canadians outraged over GM company's methods

(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story extract)

The Canadian media are now starting to get stuck into this epic GM legal battle over GM canola contamination as the Monsanto v Percy Schmeiser court case finally begins (5 June). But that's not the end of it. Get this! :

The Kram family in Raymore say planes and a helicopter have buzzed their fields. The couple says agents dropped weedkiller on their canola field, to see if the crops had the Monsanto's gene.

"We are honestly disgusted with the way things are going," Elizabeth Kram says "Who put the canola in? It is the farmer. It doesn't belong to Monsanto or anybody else and I don't see anybody else's name on the titles of all the land we own. It's my husband and myself. Nobody else. [We're] thoroughly pissed off. "

CBC internet TV (real video) report and transpcript (also below) available at: http://tv.cbc.ca/national/pgminfo/canola/index.html

...........................................

"I'm going to fight, and fight and fight. Because I believe what is happening to farmers is wrong. And I'm fighting this not just for myself, but for my children and my grandchildren. and for my farmer friends."

Percy Schmeiser

See also Blowin' in the Wind and (shorter) Blowin' in the Wind from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


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Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 20:50:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-6

Research by Iowa State University confirming monarch butterflies damaged by GE pollen from Bt corn.

See: http://www.ent.iastate.edu/entsoc/ncb99/prog/abs/D81.html

In this study milkweed leaf samples taken from within and at the edge of the corn field were used to assess mortality of first instar monarch, D. plexippus exposed to Bt and non-Bt corn pollen. Within 48 hours, there was 19% mortality in the Bt corn pollen treatment compared to 0% on non-Bt corn pollen exposed plants and 3% in the no pollen controls.

[Non-target effects of Bt corn pollen on the Monarch butterfly (Lepidoptera: Danaidae) *L. Hansen, Iowa State University, Ames , IA 50011 and J. Obrycki, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 Contact e-mail: lrahnsen@iastate.edu ]


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Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 20:50:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-6

For immediate release

Scientists expose "junk science" behind genetically modified corn approvals

Greenpeace Canada, June 6, 2000
http://www.greenpeacecanada.org/publications/ge/hillbeckreport.pd....

Toronto – Greenpeace today released a scientific report exposing the "junk science" behind the approvals of genetically modified crops, and renewed its call for cereal giant Kellogg's to withdraw genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its products.

The 70-page report by EcoStrat, a Swiss consultancy specializing in ecological assessments of biotechnology, reveals that the data submitted by food biotech companies came from such poorly designed studies that there was virtually no chance that adverse ecological effects could be observed.

The report reviewed five laboratory studies on the effects of Novartis Bt corn on beneficial organisms prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European regulatory officials, and 23 other laboratory and field studies. Greenpeace has forwarded the study to Kellogg's president Phillip Donne.

Greenpeace GMO campaigner Michael Khoo said, "We now know that the approval of this genetically modified corn was based on false assumptions and shoddy methodology. Kellogg's has no defence using food they now know has not been properly tested."

In the analysis of data submitted to regulators, EcoStrat found:

Given the poor quality of these trials, it is unlikely the industry studies would have been accepted by a peer reviewed journal

While the Ecostrat report is based on tests conducted for U.S. and European regulators, similar weaknesses have been found in the only publicly available application submitted to Canadian regulators. Despite these flawed methodologies, the Canadian government has deemed GM crops safe for unconfined release.

For more information, contact:

Cim Nunn 416/597-8408, ext. 3030 or 416/892-2712

The full report is available online at: www.greenpeacecanada.org/publications/ge/hillbeckreport.pdf


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Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 20:50:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-6

Greenpeace Canada

Backgrounder June 2000

Review on Non-Target Organisms and Transgenic Bt Plants

http://www.greenpeacecanada.org/publications/ge/hillbeckreport.pd....

Greenpeace commissioned EcoStrat GmbH, a Swiss scientific consultancy specializing in ecological assessments of biotechnology, to review studies conducted by biotech companies Novartis and Mycogen for regulatory approval purposes.

EcoStrat's report, "Review on Non-Target Organisms and Transgenic Bt Plants" was published in April 2000. It shows the studies, intended to determine if genetically modified (GM) corn would cause harmful impacts to non-target organisms, were inappropriate and scientifically questionable.

The regulatory studies were so poorly designed that there was virtually no chance that adverse effects would be observed. None were published or offered for peer review, a standard scientific practice that provides a mechanism of quality control and accountability.

In addition to the five "regulatory" studies (numbers 1-5), the EcoStrat report examines 23 other laboratory studies (numbers 6-14) and field trials (numbers 15-28), only some of which were published and peer-reviewed.

The objective of the report written by Angelika Hilbeck, Matthias Meier and Andrea Raps was to review and analyze studies dealing with the ecological safety testing of agricultural plants genetically modified to contain a gene from a soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The review focussed on studies purportedly examining the side-effects of GM Bt plants on non-target organisms.

Bt produces an enzyme which is toxic to some organisms that feed on agricultural crops. There are profound differences between externally- applied Bt spray insecticides and genetically engineered Bt toxins, necessitating different testing methodologies. Bt spray insecticides, commonly used in organic farming, contain an inactive Bt toxin that degrades in a few days and can be applied in a targeted, rather than broadcast, fashion. Most transgenic Bt plants, on the contrary, produce a pre-activated toxin throughout the life of the plant, at high doses, across an entire field.

Other potential changes in the plant that could result from genetic modification need to be considered. The position of the inserted genes in the recipient plant's genome (genetic makeup), which cannot be directed or predicted, could effect the expression of other genes. Genes inserted for one trait could also unexpectedly result in other changes in the plant, with potential effects on the environment.

Some of the most disturbing findings from the EcoStrat report, in particular for those studies submitted by industry for regulatory approval, were:

Despite the flawed methodologies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted the industry laboratory tests reviewed in the EcoStrat report as scientific evidence that the GM crop was harmless to non-target organisms, and continued to accept similar procedures for approval of other insect-resistant Bt crops.

Experts have identified similar weaknesses in the Canadian approval process for genetically modified crops. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which reports to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada, allows industry to self-test and monitor its products using inappropriate methodologies rather than conducting valid, independent studies. This "ecological illiteracy", a term used by food policy consultant Dr. Rod MacRae, is evident in the first publicly available GM crop application submitted to Canadian regulators.

As of May 2000, the CFIA web site lists more than 40 GM plants approved for various commercial uses, including the Novartis (CIBA Seeds)/Mycogen 176 Bt corn referenced in the EcoStrat report (English: http://www.cfia-acia.agr.ca/english/plaveg/pbo/pnt99e.shtml ; (French: http://www.cfia-acia.agr.ca/francais/plaveg/pbo/pnt99f.shtml).

Many of the studies reviewed by EcoStrat seem to have been designed so that no negative effects could possibly be found, or were terminated before adverse effects would be observable, particularly those conducted by industry for regulatory purposes. Ironically, it appears that the more in-depth and properly designed a study was, and if it was peer- reviewed, the more likely adverse effects would be observed. If the methods used and conclusions drawn in GM studies prove to be inappropriate, then not only are these industry tests fatally flawed, but so are the approvals made by Canadian and American regulators based upon them.

The full report is available online at: http://www.greenpeacecanada.org/publications/ge/hillbeckreport.pd....

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

French Farmers Confident on GM Seed Compensation

By Reuters news reporters
http://194.200.85.10/sources/154/621/4009492/000607e.htm

French oilseed producers said on Tuesday they were confident they would be fully compensated after the government ordered the destruction of rapeseed crops with traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Oilseed Producer Association (FOP) president Xavier Beulin told reporters the French subsidiary of Avanta Seeds - which sold farmers GMO seed which were inadvertently planted on some 600 hectares in France - had agreed to compensate farmers for lost revenues.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

Revolving Door placement: Monsanto man is now US Consumber Advocate

By A.V. Krebs, Editor\Publisher
From: The AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER Issue # 77 June 6, 2000
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective

Former Monsanto Lobbyist Carol Foreman Appointed to Serve as U.S. "Consumer Advocate" on U.S-. Biotech Consultative Forum Delegation

Ignoring the unanimous recommendation of many consumer and agriculture groups concerned about biotechnology, the White House, with input from the U.S. State Department, recently appointed its own "consumer advocate" to the global Biotech Consultative Forum on May 31.

"I'd say that the massive PR counter assault against biotech activists has just scored its most important victory with this appointment of one of them as our consumer activist," charged John Stauber, PR Watch Managing Editor in reacting to the appointment of Carol Tucker Foreman of the now very dubious "Consumer Federation of America" (CFA) to serve on the panel.

Although a number of groups had forwarded the name of Dr. Michael Hansen of Consumer Union's Consumer Policy Institute, Dr. Hansen, who has testified before Congress and many other bodies exposing false claims made by the Monsanto Corporation pertaining to the company's manufacture of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone and other products, was passed over in favor of Foreman, a recent former lobbyist for Monsanto.

Foreman is currently working on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, a heavy investor in biotechnology research and now heads up the food issues section, which includes Genetically Modified Organisms, for CFA, a Greenwashing group which happily accepts food industry funding.

Before leaving her lucrative lobbying firm --- now called Heidepriem & Mager --- last year, Foreman's many corporate clients included Monsanto, Procter & Gamble, and other agribusiness and biotech companies, as well as the tobacco giant Philip Morris.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

Subsidy Boost for GM Contaminated Crop Farmers

By PA news reporters
http://194.200.85.10/sources/154/621/4009615/000608f.htm

Farmers who have planted GM-contaminated oil seed rape crops will be allowed to rip them up and still claim EU subsidies, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announced today.

The Commons disclosure came during an Opposition-led debate on the affair, in which Tories claimed Government officials had asked Advanta Seeds to keep secret the news that imported GM contaminated seed had been sold to farmers.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

Widespread alert on seeds contaminated with GM

The Independent - London 2000-06-09

BRITISH FARMERS were facing a fresh scare over genetically modified crops last night after the Government admitted seed imports from nine countries should be classed as "contaminated" with GM products.

The Ministry of Agriculture disclosed that its research concluded oilseed rape, maize and soya seeds from the US, Argentina, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Portugal and Romania should be viewed as suspect.

The Maff study, which was slipped out to Parliament in a written answer, comes weeks after the disclosure that 500 British farms had accidentally planted oilseed crops mixed with GM products. The seeds were imported from Canada by the Advanta company. There was an outcry from green groups, farmers and the Soil Association. Many supermarket chains had guaranteed their "100 per cent GM-free" status to shoppers and refused to take any of the crops grown on the affected farms.

Yesterday Nick Brown, Minister of Agriculture, said farmers who had planted the crops would be allowed to rip them up and still claim EU subsidies.

The Government is now bound to face much greater criticism after its own researchers concluded the Advanta affair was unlikely to be unique. According to the Maff study, commissioned by Mr Brown and published in the House of Commons Library, the contamination is much wider than thought.

It says: "Of the agricultural crops grown in the UK, the imported seed of oilseed rape, maize and soya are most likely to be affected. Those countries where GM versions of these crops are grown commercially and from which seed is imported are identified. In the absence of more precise data, all such imports should be regarded as potentially contaminated."

The report concludes that the chances of cereals, fodder and beet seed being affected are low, because there is at present no widespread incidence of GM varieties of those crops.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

Monsanto used private investigators to check on farmer

WebPosted Thu Jun 8 01:47:31 2000
http://cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/2000/06/07/monsanto....

SASKATOON - The chemical giant Monsanto regularly uses private investigators to check up on fields they believe are sown with their canola seed, a trial in Saskatchewan was told Wednesday.

The company is suing a Saskatchewan farmer for growing their patented canola seed without permission.

Monsanto began its investigation after it received a tip in 1997.

In the summers of 1997 and 1998, Monsanto hired three private investigators to pay visits to Percy Schmeiser's farm near Bruno. The men took samples of Schmeiser's canola crops. They also took photographs.

Some of this was done without Schmeiser's knowledge.

The investigators visited at least two other farms in the area, on the suspicion farmers were growing the Monsanto product illegally.


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Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:11:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-10

Comments From Dr. Mae-wan Ho, Regarding Her Concerns About Genetic Engineering

Here are some comments from Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, regarding her concerns about genetic engineering and her agreement to debate with, Dr. C. S. Prakash, Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University (USA), a biotech proponent:

"Almost by definition, genetic engineering organisms involves designing GM-constructs which invade genomes and overcome natural processes that break down foreign genetic material. Due to their highly mixed origins, however, GM-constructs are more unstable than natural genetic material as well as more invasive; and may therefore be more likely to spread to unrelated species. Those points were not challenged by Prakash because these basic principles and observations of genetic engineering are covered in text books and are also areas of active research."

"There is genuine scientific dissent among scientists and the public are not served by those who continue to misrepresent the GM debate as science versus anti-science. In demanding a moratorium, we are not trying to stop research into molecular genetics. On the contrary, we are arguing for more basic research that can tell us how and if GM technology can be safely used. More than that, we need open, wide-ranging and inclusive debates on the kind of science and technology that can best serve society."

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Open University, UK m.w.ho@open.ac.uk

Note: Dr. Ho has written "Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare?" an excellent and detailed book on genetic engineering and its hazards.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


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Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 09:40:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-14

GM crops don't deliver

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent, INDEPENDENT (London)11 June 2000

Startling new research in the heart of the American grain belt seems set to settle the royal row over whether genetic modification is needed to feed the hungry.

The study at the University of Nebraska has found that GM soya actually produces less food than conventional crops, handing a timely weapon to the Prince of Wales in his argument with his sister and father.

And though it predictably denounced the research, Monsanto – which produced the GM soya – added further strength to the Prince's elbow by admitting that its own studies showed that the modified plants produced about the same amount as traditional varieties.

The university's research and Monsanto's admission severely undermine claims by biotechnology firms and pro-GM scientists that genetic engineering is needed to feed the world's growing population.

Prince Charles has long taken issue with these claims and in his Reith lecture last month repeated his conviction that "improving traditional systems of agriculture, which have stood the test of time", offered the best chance of beating hunger.

Princess Anne publicly contradicted him last week and the Duke of Edinburgh also backed GM technology.

As the royals clashed, Dr Roger Elmore, of Nebraska University's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was looking over the results of his research into how well GM soya – which now makes up most of the US crop -- actually performs. He and his team grew five different Monsanto soya plants, together with their closest conventional relatives, and the highest-yielding traditional varieties in four locations around the state using both drylands and irrigated fields.

Dr Elmore found that, on average, the GM varieties – though more expensive –produced 6 per cent less than their non-GM near relatives, and 11 per cent less than the highest yielding conventional crops. "The numbers were so clear," he said. "It was not questionable at all."

He attributed the poor performance of the GM crops to two factors. First, he said, it took time to modify a plant, and while that was being done, better conventional ones were being developed. That partly explained why the highest yielding non-GM plants did so much better. Secondly, Dr Elmore said, the process of inserting new genes into plants reduced yields.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 09:40:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-14

Japanese Snack Company Switches Sweeteners

An alternative news service for American farmers
http://www.cropchoice.com 6/12/00

(12 June - Cropchoice News) – Citing concerns about consumer rejection of biotech products, one of Japan's leading snack makers has announced it will stop using corn sweeteners. Bourbon Corporation, with $850 million in 1999 sales, said on Friday that it will move to cane sugar and potato-based sweeteners for its biscuits and confection products.

The vast majority - 82% - of Japanese consumers view the trend toward biotech food negatively, according to a report released on Friday by market consulting company Angus Reid. According to Reuters, Bourbon would not reveal how much the switch will cost; but says that it will not pass any costs on to consumers. The company plans to use domestic potato sources.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 09:40:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-14

Greenpeace Launches New Web Site!

Greenpeace has launched a new True Food Web site: http://www.truefoodnow.org/index.html?news The site is designed to help people get involved in the issue of genetically modified food.

Read the latest news about Greenpeace and GMOs, take online action for True Food, send a FrankenTony postcard to a friend, download a True Food Action Kit and more.

Visit the True Food Web site! http://www.truefoodnow.org/index.html?news


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Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 09:40:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-14

Here is a comment from: "NLP Wessex" nlpwessex@bigfoot.com on a technical article that follows indicating that a canola plant engineered to be resistant to insects was a total flop. The insects loved eating the plants, resulting in increased damage to plants and increased growth and spread of insects.

comment from: "NLP Wessex" nlpwessex@bigfoot.com:

Transgenic Oilseed Rape [canola] line unexpectedly increases growth of crop pest

http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/gmcroppestproblem.....

A line of oilseed rape was genetically engineered to produce a protein considered to be toxic to an insect pest. However, in practice, far from killing the pest the new protein actually resulted in the larvae of the insect growing larger.

Because this growth suggests that the larvae were driven to eat more plant material as a result of the generation of the new protein in the rape on which they were feeding, the study concludes that the genetic modification "could be counterproductive as the transformed genotypes would suffer more damage than the untransformed plants" (i.e the genetic modification would increase, not reduce, crop losses from the pest). ...

This situation would appear to clearly demonstrate what a 'try-it-and-see' business the genetic modification of plants is when trying to anticipate the 'downstream' biological effects of any new proteins generated by them. ...

This profound scientific deficiency has implications well beyond the scope of this study, including the generation of possible unexpected effects from novel proteins in transgenic plants subsequently consumed by humans.

Here is the beginning of the paper:

Journal of Insect Physiology 44 (1998) 263 - 270

"Growth stimulation of beetle larvae reared on a transgenic oilseed rape expressing a cysteine proteinase inhibitor"

Cecile Girard, Martine Le Metayer, Bruno Zaccomer, Elspeth Bartlet, Ingrid Williams, Michel Bonade-Bottino, Minh-Ha Pham-Delegue, Lise Jouanin.

Abstract

The resistance of a transgenic line of oilseed rape expressing constitutively the cysteine proteinase inhibitor oryzacystatin I (OCI) was assessed against Psylliodes chrysocephala L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The levels of OCI expression in the transformed line averaged 0.2%- and 0.05% of total soluble protein in leaves and petioles respectively. In vitro analyses showed that P.chrysocephala larvae use both cysteine and serine proteinases for protein digestion, and that all the cysteine proteolytic activity is OCI-sensitive. However, bioassays showed that adults fed identically on leaf discs from control or transformed plants.

When larvae were reared on transgenic plants expressing OCI, they showed an increase in weight gain compared to those reared on control plants. Furthermore, those larvae from transgenic plants exhibited a 2-fold increase in both cysieine and serine proteolytic activity as a reponse to the presence of OCI. The plasticity of insect digestive physiology and feeding behaviour are discussed, as well as the relevance of engineering a genotype expressing both types of proteinase inhibitors.

[Extracts from main text of paper]

... The cabbage stem flea beetle (Psylliodes chrysocephala L) is a major pest of winter oilseed rape in Europe (Lamb,1989)...

The aim of this paper was to investigate the effects of OCI expression in oilseed rape on adult feeding, larval growth and digestive physiology of P.chrysocphalia.

[Ie canola was genetically engineered to produced increased amounts of OCI, a protein thought to be toxic to the insect pest, the cabbage stem flea beetle] ...

Deleterious effects were expected for larvae reared on the OCI expressing line. Surprisingly, those larvae showed an increased weight gain compared to control larvae [*]. There was almost no effect on larval mortality. Moreover, a 2-fold increase in both cysteine and serine proteinase activities was measured....

[In the rest of the paper, that scientists are trying to come up with some theory explaining why the insects actually grew larger on the GE plants that were engineered with a toxin to kill the insect pests. It appears that the scientists just do not know enough about the insects.]

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


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Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 09:31:14 -0400
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-18

Monsanto Used Private Eye, Spies to Check on Saskatchewan Farmers

CP Wire, National general news, June 7, 2000

SASKATOON – A Federal Court civil trial was told Wednesday that Monsanto used private investigators to check on farmers it suspected were using its herbicide-resistant seed without permission and that one of those investigators testified he took plant samples from public ditches adjacent to privately owned Saskatchewan canola fields.

The story says that the chemical giant, based in St. Louis, Mo., also convinced a Saskatchewan company that sold Monsanto products to supply canola seed samples from farmers being investigated.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 09:31:14 -0400
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-18

Thanks to "NLP Wessex" nlpwessex@bigfoot.com for posting next article:

Excellent New Briefing on the Risks of GM Foods

"A TIME TO CHOOSE" PRIME GM READING - IDEAL FOR THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT GM TRIALS AND GLOBAL GM CROP COMMERCIALISATION

UK multiple food retailer, Iceland Frozen Foods, have recently made available on their web site an excellent new briefing on the risks of GM foods. Written by the NLP's Henry Brighouse on behalf of the Stroud Campaign for Safe Food it is available in PDF format at: http://www.iceland.co.uk/Ext_11/web/market.nsf(websearch)/timeto

In the form of a submission to the UK's Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food the report contains a general critique of GM foods and crops, as well specific representations on Chardon LL maize - the first GM crop to be proposed for National Seed List approval in the UK (currently subject to widespread public objection). A copy of this submission is being sent to every Member of Parliament in the UK. Others can download a copy now and use it to brief political representatives in their part of the world.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 09:31:14 -0400
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-18

Scientists abandon 'inefficient' cloning

By Robin McKie, The Observer, Sunday June 18, 2000

Dolly success proves hard to repeat as vast majority of experiments end in death or abnormalities.

She was always going to be a hard act to follow, an animal in a million. But now researchers have discovered that Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, may be even rarer and even more unusual than first appreciated.

Scientists have found that although other cloned creatures - pigs, cows, goats and mice - have been created in the past couple of years, these few rare successes are proving extremely difficult to repeat. As one researcher put it: 'Cloning has turned out to be more art than science.'

In fact, results have been so poor that many scientists have abandoned attempts to clone creatures, and are returning to the laboratory to carry out basic research in an attempt to find out what is going wrong.

As Professor Keith Campbell, one of the team responsible for making Dolly, said: 'After we cloned the first adult sheep, lots of scientists assumed that it would soon be easy to make streams of similar clones, that it was just a matter of honing the technology. But now we are finding out that it is a lot more difficult than this. Cloning is turning out to be very expensive and very inefficient.'

At its heart, the problem involves a host of different scientific disciplines: in understanding what types of cell should be used as the founder of the proposed clone; in selecting the best donor animals; and in picking the right environments to grow their cells.

At present, scientists simply do not know the right criteria for consistently making a clone of an animal, a problem outlined in the current issue of the journal Science . It reveals that, even after a cloned embryo has been made and then implanted in a surrogate mother's womb, only two in 100 make it to successful, healthy birth. In the case of Dolly, it took almost 300 attempts at implanting an embryo into her surrogate mother before she became the first healthy cloned lamb to make it through to delivery .

'Even when an embryo does successfully implant in the womb, pregnancies often end in miscarriage,' states the Science report. 'A significant fraction of the animals that are born die shortly after birth. And some of those that survive have serious develop mental abnormalities, suggesting that something in the recipe is fundamentally wrong.'

In the case of cloned cattle, more than a quarter are alarmingly larger than normal and many abort spontaneously and mysteriously. Even among those of normal weight, many are found to have underdeveloped lungs, while others have dangerously elevated levels of potassium in their blood. Similar problems affect other species. 'We simply do not know why this is happening,' said Campbell, of Nottingham University.

Finding out the nature of this fundamental flaw is now an urgent concern for scientists. However, as most cloning research is now funded and carried out by major corporations, their demands for tight security and secrecy from their staff is seriously hampering the exchange of data, a point highlighted by Norton Zinder of the Rockefeller University in New York. Only a 'major diplomatic effort' by his staff could persuade leading scientists in the field to come to a special conference that was, ironically, aimed at improving communications in the field.

This failure to crack the fundamental problems of cloning has several key consequences. For a start, they suggest that the ethical dilemmas that are supposed to beset the field must be decidedly less pressing than previously accepted. As Science puts it: 'Human cloning - even so-called therapeutic to produce cell lines to be used in treating disease - may be a long way off. As for reproductive cloning, or actually creating living replica, it would be criminal at this stage in our abilities.'


Top PreviousFront Page
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 09:31:14 -0400
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN6-18
From: info@organicsnewzealand.org.nz

New Zealand Moratorium On Genetic Modification

Press Release: New Zealand Government, Thursday, 15 June 2000, 10:55 am
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0006/S00289.htm

The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, has announced that agreement has been reached with industry and research organisations over a voluntary moratorium on field tests or general release of genetically modified organisms.

"The voluntary moratorium applies to all applications to field test or release a genetically modified organism from containment," the Minister said.

"The major potential applicants have agreed that a voluntary moratorium with some limited exemptions will allow their research to progress while reducing potential risks to the environment."

The voluntary moratorium will be in place until the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification has completed its report and the Government has considered its findings.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.


Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign, for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596 email: rwolfson@concentric.net

Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html contains more information on genetic engineering as well as previous genetic engineering news items. Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 (USD for those outside Canada) for 12 months, payable to "BanGEF" and mailed to the above address. Or see website for details.